Job Fair Tips

Whether you are seeking contacts and/or interviews for a full-time, internship or co-op position or just beginning to explore your career field, a job fair is a great way to gather information and develop substantial leads.

Job Fair Tips (pdf)

DO:

  • Research the organizations before attending.
  • Dress professionally - first impressions count at fairs as well as in interviews. A clean and neat appearance is important.
  • Greet the recruiter with a firm handshake and establish eye contact.
  • Prepare a “30-second commercial” - Create a “script” that introduces yourself and briefly relates your major/background and experience to the position(s) in which you are interested. Show that you do have some career focus.
  • Make sure to deliver this message as part of your conversation with the recruiter, NOT as a monologue. Be personable, smile and remember to breathe!
  • Develop informed questions. Consider starting with
    • “How would you describe an ideal candidate?”
    • “What are the key skills that help a person succeed in this type of job?”
  • Be independent. Try not to just move in groups with your friends. Learn how to shine at these events on your own.
  • Have an open mind. Determine your top three to five employers in advance of the fair, but talk with others in order to discover their potential for helping you begin your career.
  • Bring multiple copies of your resume and an appointment book. You may have the opportunity to set up an interview or at least a follow-up phone call. Keep your materials and notes organized in a portfolio or briefcase.
  • Inquire about obtaining further information about the organization. Ask about other potential contacts or leads you might pursue.
  • “Close the deal!” Take the initiative and ask what your next step is. Take a business card so that you can follow up with an e-mail or a thank-you letter.


DON'T:

  • Don’t be afraid of the recruiter. Approach him or her with confidence and enthusiasm. They attend job fairs to meet lots of qualified candidates Many of them have not been out of school more than a few years; you will likely meet several recruiters who are Bradley alumni!
  • Don’t jump into a conversation the recruiter is having with another student; be patient; use the time to read over company information.
  • Don’t just toss your resume on the table. Chat first! Take time to learn about their organization and available opportunities. Market yourself and determine if there is some mutual interest.
  • Don’t overstate your abilities. You could end up pursuing a job you are not equipped to do. Do present yourself and your abilities convincingly. Show involvement in organizations and projects.
  • Don’t ask too many questions about salary, benefits and perks, or vacation time. These are not irrelevant, but your main focus should be on the prospective job itself
  • Don’t complain about former jobs, bosses or classes. Don’t use negatives such as “can’t” or “won’t.” Your goal is to leave a positive impression about your work attitudes and experience.
  • Don’t monopolize the recruiter’s time. Sell yourself, make a good impression but give the next student the chance to do the same.
  • Don’t pretend you are interested in a position when you are not. Don’t schedule an appointment if you do not intend to keep it. You may be preventing a student who is really interested from obtaining an interview.
  • Don’t assume the recruiter can’t be of help even though there are no current openings. Situations change and he/she may be a good contact in the future.